All the news and notes you'll need before the Roughnecks next home game on Saturday against the Edmonton Rush
ROAD WARRIORS: The Calgary Roughnecks have reeled off three straight road wins to make their 0-2 start to the 2013 National Lacrosse League season seem like a distant memory. By virtue of their 18-15 win over the Edmonton Rush (1-3) last Saturday at Crystal Glass Field at Rexall Place, the Roughnecks improved their record to 3-2. That vaulted the Riggers into top spot in the NLL’s West Division. Despite the win over the Rush last weekend, Calgary coach Curt Malawsky wasn’t pleased with how many goals his team gave up. “It was an ugly game for both teams,” Malawsky said. “It was a big-time shootout there. From a coach’s perspective, we weren’t happy with our defensive effort.” Dane Dobbie scored three goals and added two assists for the Riggers against the Rush last Saturday, while Geoff Snider also had a hat trick. Jeff Shattler led all Calgary players with a seven-point effort (2g, 5a), while Shawn Evans (2g, 4a), Scott Ranger (2g, 3a), Curtis Dickson (2g, 2a), Daryl Veltman (2g, 1a), Jon Harnett (1g, 2a) and rookie Joe Resetarits (1g, 1a) also got in on the action. Calgary goalie Mike Poulin made 45 saves to record his third straight win. The victory was also the 30th win of Poulin’s NLL career. Ryan Ward led the Rush attack with a hat trick and four helpers, while Jeremy Thompson (3g), Zack Greer (2g, 2a), Corey Small (2g, 1a), Mark Matthews (2g), Jarrett Davis (1g, 1a), John LaFontaine (1g) and Alex Turner (1g) also scored.
OUT FOR REDEMPTION: The Roughnecks will be looking to make it four wins in a row when they host the Rush in the back half of the home-and-home affair at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night (7 p.m.). The Riggers will be out for redemption after suffering a disappointing 19-11 loss to the Rush in the first round of the 2012 NLL playoffs on May 5 at the ’Dome. “Yeah, they beat us last year in the playoffs, but we’ve got to forget about that and just build on what we’re trying to do,” Evans said. Ward notched five goals and added six assists to lead Edmonton to the post-season victory, thus knocking Calgary out of the playoffs. Small (5g, 3a) also had a strong game for the Rush as did Tom Johnson (3g) and Greer (2g, 3a), while goalie Aaron Bold stopped 39 saves to pick up the win. Ranger had four goals and one assist for the Riggers, while Dobbie (3g, 4a), Evans (2g, 4a) and Shattler (2g, 3a) also scored. Dating back to last May’s playoff loss to the Rush, the Riggers have now lost three straight home games. That’s definitely something that Malawsky wants to rectify quickly. “Something’s got to give,” Malawsky said. “We’re definitely looking to give back to our fans and the organization. We’re going to be coming out ready to play.”
ROUGHNECKS VS. RUSH: The Roughnecks boast an all-time record of 21-4 (8-2 at home, 13-2 on the road) in the regular season against the Rush. The 21 wins over Edmonton are the most that Calgary has recorded against any NLL franchise. Calgary beat Edmonton all four times the two teams faced off against each other last year. The Riggers opened the season series with a 12-8 win over the Rush at home at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Feb. 18. The ’Necks then ran to a 13-10 win in Edmonton on March 9 before downing the Rush 16-9 the next night back at home in Calgary. The Riggers then swept the season series by virtue of a 9-6 triumph at Rexall Place on April 21. Evans led all players with 11 goals and seven assists in the four-game series, while Shattler scored nine times to go with six assists. Despite not recording a point in the final game, Dickson tallied seven goals and six assists against the Rush, while Ranger scored three times and set up 10 others. Veltman (4g, 8a), Dobbie (4g, 5a in three games) and Snider (3g, 5a) also fared well against Edmonton. Shawn Williams led the Rush scoring attack with a goal and 13 assists in the four games, while Scott Evans scored eight times and set up four others despite only playing the first two games of the series. Neither Williams nor Evans are back with the Rush this season though. Small (3g, 7a), Ward (3g, 6a) and Greer (5g, 1a), who are all back for another campaign with the Rush, were also solid contributors for the Rush in 2012.
WEEKLY WINNER: For the second straight week, Snider earned accolades by being named the Transition Player of the Week for Week 5 of the 2013 NLL season. Snider had an impressive performance in the first match-up of the four-game Homes by Avi Battle of Alberta series last Saturday. Snider tallied three goals and collected a game-leading 22 loose balls while winning 27-of-36 (75 per cent) of faceoffs in Calgary’s 18-15 road victory over Edmonton. Snider now leads the league in loose balls at 78 and is second in face-off wins (111) through five games.
MOUSE’S MUSINGS: Curt Malawsky took over as the sixth head coach in Roughnecks’ history prior to the start of the 2013 season. In order for the Riggers to extend their winning streak to four games, Malawsky said that his squad will definitely have to be prepared on Saturday to face a motivated Rush squad, which will be looking to avenge last weekend’s 18-15 setback in Edmonton. “They’re a very, very good transition team,” Malawsky said. “It’s all about adjustments. We’re going to have to make some systematic adjustments and kind of get back to the basics of our system.” Malawsky will be assisted by Bob McMahon as offence coordinator and Bruce Codd as defence coordinator. It’s the third season for McMahon on the Calgary coaching staff, while Codd joined the Riggers this season.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: With a 13-point performance during a 19-12 win for Calgary over the Colorado Mammoth in Denver on Jan. 25, Evans set a franchise record for most points in a single game. The previous mark of 11 was held by Dobbie, Lewis Ratcliff and John Kilbride. “When things are going like that, it’s just nice, because most times you don’t get that,” said Evans, who was honoured as the NLL’s Offensive Player of the Month for January. “It’s nice when you get into a little bit of a rhythm and things are going well for you.” While it was a new record for the Riggers, it wasn’t a new benchmark for Evans, who had a 14-point game (7g, 7a) against the Toronto Rock back in 2009 when he was a member of the Rochester Knighthawks. “I forgot about that one,” Evans said. “It’s just sort of how the game goes. Sometimes you get a lot of opportunities to score goals and to create plays and sometimes they don’t go in the net.” Malawsky was quick to heap praise on Evans, who leads the NLL in scoring with 37 points (15g, 22a) in five games, for his play so far this season. “He’s a fierce competitor and he’s a great leader on and off the floor,” Malawsky said. “He makes everybody around him better. He’s been the glue to our offence. We’re very happy to have him on our side.”
A LOOK BACK: Led by the offensive exploits of Evans and Shattler, the Roughnecks finished atop the 2012 NLL standings with a 12-4 record. In his first year with the Riggers after being acquired from the Rochester Knighthawks, Evans led Calgary in scoring with 32 goals and 47 assists in 16 games played. Shattler followed up a 75-point season in 2011 with 72 points (31g, 41a) in 2012. Veltman (20g, 42a), Ranger (24g, 37a), Dickson (31g, 25a) and Dobbie (28g, 22a) also had solid offensive seasons for the ’Necks. In net, Poulin was a workhorse for the Riggers as he compiled a 10-3 record to go with a 10.27 goals against average and a .789 save percentage. After finishing first in the NLL’s West Division, the Roughnecks hosted the Rush (6-10) in the first round of the playoffs on May 5 and suffered a 19-11 setback to end their season.
RETURNING VETERANS: Captain Andrew McBride leads a group of 19 returning players on Calgary’s roster this year. Joining McBride on defence for another season are Dan MacRae as well as the brother combinations of Mike and Scott Carnegie and Greg and Jon Harnett. Back from last season at forward are Jeff Shattler, Shawn Evans, Curtis Dickson, Daryl Veltman, Dane Dobbie and Scott Ranger. At the transition position, Geoff Snider, Curtis Manning, Travis Cornwall, Nolan Heavenor and Peter McFetridge are all back for the 2013 campaign. Mike Poulin will once again be the starter in between the pipes, while Frankie Scigliano will be counted upon to be a reliable back-up goalie.
NEW FACES: Among the four new faces on the Riggers this season are three of Calgary’s seven 2012 NLL Entry Draft selections: forward Joe Resetarits (first round, sixth overall), transition player Matthew Dinsdale (first round, seventh overall) and forward Jackson Decker (second round, 17th overall). The ’Necks also acquired forward Aaron Pascas from the Toronto Rock in exchange for a draft pick in the off-season.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Nolan Heavenor is five points away from 100 in his eighth year in the NLL.
- Daryl Veltman needs to score five more times to hit the 100-goal mark.
- Shawn Evans needs 10 goals to hit 200, 11 assists for 300, and 21 points to reach the 500-point plateau.
-By scooping up 11 more loose balls, Curtis Dickson will reach 100.